Don’t over­look risks from au­to­matic data en­try into EHRs

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the ar­ti­cle “Get­ting the data stream flow­ing: Hos­pi­tals want mon­i­tor­ing de­vices and EHRs to com­mu­ni­cate” (Mod­ern Health­care, p. 20, May 11), en­ter­ing vi­tals such as blood pres­sure, res­pi­ra­tion rate and oxy­gen sat­u­ra­tion from elec­tronic mon­i­tors di­rectly into the elec­tronic health record saves time and elim­i­nates data-en­try er­rors. But in by­pass­ing the need for a hu­man be­ing to in­spect it, who is go­ing to no­tice that blood pres­sure is re­main­ing sta­ble de­spite the in­tro­duc­tion of anti-hy­per­ten­sive meds, or that in­creas­ing the amount of oxy­gen is not rais­ing oxy­gen sat­u­ra­tion?

Wait­ing un­til the end of the shift to re­view data en­tered au­to­mat­i­cally— even if it is “within nor­mal lim­its” and thus not au­to­mat­i­cally flagged by the EHR in­ter­face for im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion—may be too late.

When data are en­tered man­u­ally by some­one trained to know what it means, you know it has been vet­ted in a more so­phis­ti­cated man­ner than any one-size-fits-all com­puter al­go­rithm. Hu­man be­ings haven’t been re­placed by com­put­ers just yet. Lawrence Jankowski

Morton Grove, Ill.

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